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Hello again

We (as in Ellie, Kerry, Sadie and I) promised ourselves at the end of last season in September that we would not spend the winter as we usually do talking about all of the things we were going to make but meet up more regularly to make things.

So we met again this weekend at my house for a second sewing weekend. This also included a little evening out to introduce Sadie to the delights of Marsden.

I am exempt from having to make any large things as I am hostess so I feed and provide equipment and guidance if needed while the others get on with their stuff.

It was a very successful weekend with Kerry finishing two linings to go under her corset , working on a pair of cuffs for her gloves for next season and revising a dress.

Ellie and Sadie both made shifts which were nearly finished by yesterday evening apart from the hand finishing of the seams. Here Ellie is hard at work and later modelling her creation (excuse the lack of light – winter in Yorkshire!)

Sewing day Nov -Ellie

Sewing day Nov -Ellie 2

She has had her hair cut short which looks very lovely and donated the hair to a children’s cancer charity for making wigs for kids undergoing chemotherapy.

Sadie was using her machine for the first time and it all went very well!

Sewing day Nov -Sadie

Since we do so much work for English Heritage ( who have very strict guidelines on costume) we machine sew main seams then fold the seam allowance over and ‘stab stitch’ through to neaten the seams.

This also hides the overlocking on the edge of the material. I usually then oversew the seams, both to cover up the machining and to provide extra strength.

Some of the garments like shifts and hose and brais (the men’s undergarments) get a lot of wear and tear, particularly when worn under armour and this helps strengthen the seams. All hems are handstitched.

I did manage to finish a couple of things – hexis of course! Here are two of my latest Christmas ornaments using a slightly bigger hexi and making two hexi flowers which are sewn together.

Sewing day Nov - hexi ornie

 

Sewing day Nov -ornie 2

The flower for the backing is plain fabric with a patterned centre square.

This is a great way of using up little scraps from my Christmas fabric stash. Some of the fabric that I am using now I have had for years and am getting to the end of it so this is a very economical method as well as being very enjoyable :-)

I am also making good progress with all of my hand-made gifts (though there will no doubt be a mad dash as usual at the end – luckily some don’t have to be finished until the 29th when I go to Spain!).

Below are the finished pincushion and needlebook. The scissor keep to finish the set is almost done, just needs the buttons and cord added.

Sewing day Nov -needlebook

Sewing day Nov -needlebook 2

Of course the great excitement later this week is the visit to Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show! I have set myself quite a strict budget which I intend to spend on charm packs and buttons.

There may just be some pictures of fabric in my next post :-)

Meanwhile stay happy and thanks for visiting.

I went for a little visit to the town of Hebden Bridge the other day with my friend Sharon. It is a very pretty place, similar to Marsden with a river and a canal.

Hebden Bridge - canal

Hebden Bridge - river

Hebden Bridge - river 2

We hadn’t really planned what to do as were just going for a tootle but imagine our delight at finding this as one of the first shops we came across!

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 2

Hebden Bridge quilt shop

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 3

We had to go in of course (it would have been rude not to) and a while later left with all of this lovely stuff. They also do classes and online sales and this is their web site.

Hebden Bridge - material

Hebden Bridge - material 2

Hebden Bridge - material 3

Most of this will become Xmas presents so it is guilt free fabric ;-) and I was very pleased to get some more of the Makower sewing print range for my gifts.

I was most impressed with this little mini cake – 40 pieces of fabric for only £3, they are about 2 inches square so will make lovely hexis for pincushions and aprons.

Hebden bridge - mini cake

Hebden Bridge - material 6

Then a little further on down the street we found this lovely wool and haberdashery shop. They must have known we were coming :-)  Love the cross stitch opening hours sign.

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop 2

I bought ribbon and self covering buttons for a project I will mention later in this post. And there were some very cute teddy buttons.

Hebden Bridge - buttons

We went to the local WI this week as they were having a demonstration on how to make a brooch from Liberty fabric. The session was run by Julie from a local handmade company Teazle and we all made very cute little flowers.

WI flower

I bought a kit to make another with some beautiful Liberty paisley and have adapted the design to make Xmas ornaments.The flower looked a little like a poinsettia so I thought it would be nice hanging from a tree.

Xmas ornie - flower

I have made Suffolk Puffs (or Yo – Yos) for the first time for the centre of the flower. I made 2 of different sizes and layered them to cover up the centre hole.

Xmas ornie - flower

I am still enjoying my hexagons, as well as using them for Xmas ornaments I am making some little pincushions for my friend Sue’s charity stall.

Hexi pincushions

Hexi pincushion 2

The one on the left is made from the hexi needlecase freebie fabric from my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and the one on the right is fabric from two charity shop blouses.

I love the little flowers on this fabric and think that the broderie anglaise flowers on the white fabric look really pretty against the dark pink which is Kona solids from my stash.

I am aiming to do some more brooches, pincushions and ornaments over this weekend as I would like to have all my hand-made ornaments finished before term starts in two weeks if possible.

Hope you have a nice relaxing and crafty weekend planned. Thanks for visiting.

Just thought I would do an update on my work yesterday and share with you a tutorial for my latest Xmas ornament. I had a very lovely day – unfortunately today is wet as well so I will just have to carry on sitting making more ornaments, how sad ;-)

I would love to design and make full-time but in the mean time am happy with the little bits I get to do.

This is my third original Xmas ornament design, tutorials for the crazy patchwork Xmas tree  and information on the Crazy patchwork Xmas heart can be found at these links. None of these are earthshatteringly different from other things you can find on the web but are all my own work.

I have never done anything with hexagons before and have quite frankly considered English Paper Piecing a bit of a faff but I am very much enjoying this.

My inspiration came from two free gifts from my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. I started sewing the hexi pincushion last week on the train and I really liked it.

 

Hexi Xmas ornie 1

I do enjoy small-scale work and as friends have always told me these are very portable projects. The free pre-cut papers will come in very handy as well!

Here are the two I finished yesterday and below is a step by step guide for those of you who might like to have a go yourselves.

Hexi Xmas ornie 6

The ornament is made from 2 sizes of hexagon – 2 inch for the main body of the ornament and 1 cm for each of the hexagons in the ‘flower’. Please note that hexagons are sized by the length of each side (something that I found a bit confusing to start with) and you can happily mix metric and imperial measurements.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of drawing round a template here are links for free printables from the Snippets and Blabbery blog and some free printable hexagon graph paper  in different sizes and you can also buy pre-cut papers from many sources including these from Quilt Direct.

There are also lots of pre-cut (and even pre-stitched onto papers) fabric on Ebay if you really want to save time,  for me half of the fun is choosing the fabric though.

I used material from my small (ahem) stock of Xmas fabric but this design would work well from charm packs and scraps from other quilting.

Step 1 – Cut out 2 of the larger 2 inch hexagons from your backing fabric, I have used plain for the front and patterned for the back.

Step 2 – Cut out 7 of the smaller 1 cm hexagons – I used 3 different fabrics from the same ranges for each of my designs. You need a bigger seam allowance than you might think for folding over, I use 0.5 cm.

Hexi Xmas ornie 2

The small size of the hexagons makes it great for fussy cutting elements out of larger designs but you may have to watch the orientation of the hexagons when you stitch them together if the design had a ‘right way up’.

Fussy cutting means choosing a part of the design rather than just cutting out of the general fabric, it does mean you get more waste but the effect is good.

Step 3 – Sew the smaller hexagons onto your paper hexagons folding the seams over as you go. Use a contrasting thread then it is easier to unpick when you take the papers out. There is an excellent step by step tutorial on making a hexagon flower at Pretty by Hand’s blog here which shows how to stitch the pieces together.

Hexi Xmas ornie 3

Step 4 – Arrange the 7 hexagons into a flower shape and sew all the seams together using small stitches. If you are using a plain centre fabric the same as the backing then you could just have a ring of 6 hexagons but I liked the stability of the flower shape. Iron at this point to help secure seams for the next stage.

Hexi Xmas ornie 4

Step 5 – Remove the stitches and then the hexagon backing paper pieces carefully. I use my unpicker for this bit, you can re-use the papers if you are careful. I did then tack the outer 3 edges of each hexagon (those that are not sewn to anything), this makes the next step easier.

Step 6 – Applique your hexagon flower to one of the large backing hexagons using small stitches in a matching thread colour – if you have multiple colours in your flower go for a match to your backing fabric.

Hexi Xmas ornie - whip stitch detail

Step 7 – Put the appliqued front hexagon and your backing hexagon right sides together and stitch all the way round – I used hand stitching with a running stitch then went back to fill in the gaps but you could machine stitch.

Step 8 – Turn ornament to show right sides – poking the corners with scissor ends or a pencil help to ensure sharp corners.

Step 9 – Stuff the ornament – I use polyester toy filling for all my work available from craft shops or places like this on Ebay.

Step 10 – Turn the raw edges of the open side over, pin and sew. I have made this the top edge on my ornaments as however careful you are it never looks the same as all the other edges and the ribbon hides some of this.

Step 11 – Sew through the middle of the centre hexagon with some tiny stitches pulling tight to create a hollow in the centre – stitch a small button, bead or embellishment there.

Hexi Xmas ornie 5

Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.

Hexi Xmas ornie 7

If you want more hexagon inspiration go and have a look at this Pinterest page that I found the other evening – I particularly love the designs from the Broderie blog featured on that page though it would take centuries for me to complete anything like her quilts.

And look at this for hexi love – this was from the same Pinterest page, not sure who it was from originally but look at that stash!

Hexagon box

I am aiming to make 10 of these ornaments for this year’s friends and family seasonal gifts so am going to be having an enjoyable and productive Autumn.

Happy ornament making and thanks for visiting.

Well it looks like summer is over here in Yorkshire but that is ok.

There is nothing quite as delicious as the prospect of a weekend where you have nothing to do except create so I will watch the rain from the comfort of my sofa and make Christmas ornaments while watching DVDs … it is a hard life sometimes ;-)

I have been doing some research on patchwork ornaments as I need a new design for this year’s friends and family gifts and came across this very useful web site last night with links to all sorts of lovely stuff – the site is called Pinwheel Ponder .

She also has a Pinterest Page with some other gorgeous stuff on – look at these lovely fussy cut kaleidoscope ornaments from the Quilt Art Mountain Vistas blog of Lynn Crosswell.

 

Fussy cut ornaments Lynn Croswell

 

I also wanted to show you my latest creation, I am temporarily moving away from knitted animals to make some more Xmas stockings but this is one that I have just made for a friend from re-enactment.

I have called him Hannibal after the famous story of Hannibal and his elephants as their route took them just past where my Mum lives in Spain!

 

Medieval elephant 2

I knitted a jumper out of wool that is meant to look like maille and gave him maille legs as well and made a little linen surcoat with my friend’s heraldry on. I also did some laces on his boots.

I like the way his legs are shiny in this photo :-)

Medieval elephant

It was the first jumper and boy’s feet I have knitted and as always Julie’s pattern was very easy to follow.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Hello and I hope you are having good weather – we are having a minor heat wave here which is very nice.

Hope it continues for the weekend as we have our first ever show at Peveril Castle and we are not going to have much shelter as it is right on top of a hill so the tents will be miles away!

Spent last weekend at home so decided to have a ‘ Christmas in July ‘ afternoon with friends from my knitting group here in sunny Marsden.

Sue, Sharon and Sammy (other people with names not beginning with S were invited but couldn’t make it) all came round for a few hours of crafty loveliness and a bit of light refreshment ;-)

I showed them how to do the lovely baubles from Springwood House Designs and my little stocking designs and we were away playing with fabric.

Xmas in July Sharon

Xmas in July Sue

Xmas in July Sharon and Sue

They were very talented, Sue made a beautiful blue and silver bauble and Sharon proved herself to be the fastest bauble maker in the West (Yorkshire) with two produced that you can see on the left here, one traditional holly patterned and another Scandi style burgundy one.

Sammy’s is the red and gold bauble on the right and I stuck to my good old traditional colours for the one at the back – I do love a bit of red, green and gold!

Xmas in July Ornaments

We had a little seasonal feast as well with mince pies, ginger and chocolate cupcakes , rocky road and crispy cakes and pigs in blankets accompanied by Prosecco and mulled wine (which tastes very good cold!)

Xmas in July

A lovely afternoon and one we will repeat a bit nearer the actual festive season as we have lots of things to make for friends, family and fund raising at craft stalls.

Thanks for visiting and will be back next week with hopefully some pictures of a lovely sunny re-enactment event!

There will always be textiles wherever I go as not only are they important and many of the places I visit have them on display as part of the social history of the location but also I do sometimes seek them out ;-)

However this holiday I had some very pleasant surprises on the textile front as I found some when I wasn’t even looking for them :-)

The first nice surprise was this beautiful sampler which had been done by Margarete the lady who ran the hotel we stayed in Germany. She was in her 70s and the hotel has been in her family for over 100 years.

Bavaria 2014 Langenau sampler

I couldn’t help thinking that she must have had a pretty hard life, she was on duty about 15 hours a day when we were there and I hope that at some points they got to close the hotel and have a holiday themselves.

I like to imagine that she stitched this in her free time and it gave her pleasure and helped her relax, it is a beautifully stitched piece and she was obviously proud of it as it was hung in the bar area.

Then we had our unexpected trip to the Steiff Teddy Bear Museum  which was an optional trip on the holiday which the kids really wanted to go to. It was really good with a little interactive piece at the start that told you the history of the company followed by a room with lots of toys that you could touch (and sit on) then displays of the toys throughout the ages.

Bavaria 2014 Steiff sewing room

The company was started by Margarete Steiff who was a keen seamstress, she had polio as a child and never married but sewed children’s clothes then made her first toy, an elephant (by accident it was meant to be a pincushion but it got played with!).

She then went on to make teddies and all manner of other creatures. The above photo shows a reproduction of the sewing room that starts the interactive part.

One of the most interesting parts for me as I have been making toys recently (both knitted and have started a couple of fabric ones) was the workroom at the end where as well as staff working demonstrating the toys being made they had lots of patterns hung up and old photos showing the factory workers. There is a concise history of the Steiff business at this link if you are interested.

Bavaria 2014 Steiff patterns 1

Bavaria 2014 Steiff patterns 2

Bavaria 2014 Steiff machinists

Bavaria 2014 Steiff toymakers

Then when we went to Rothenburg we came across this shop selling hand embroidered textiles.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg embroidery shop

They employ over 500 home workers to do the embroidery so I had to go and support the local economy and all those lovely ladies didn’t I? The kids were very patient while I chose from hundreds of gorgeous things.

I bought these beautiful lavender filled whitework pillows for display in my kitchen and an embroidered runner for the Xmas table. As I reminded Jake I do only have 4 (he seemed to think that was too many last year – no idea why?). This one will go very nicely with my holly decorated dinner set).

Bavarian needlework -whitework 1

Bavarian needlework -whitework

Bavarian needlework -xmas cloth

Rothenburg is also famous for its Christmas shops (which I honestly didn’t know when I booked the trip kids) and so spent ages in the Christmas Village in the Kathe Wolfahrt shop which was amazing! No photos allowed inside but this is from their website and it actually looks like this.

Christmas shop Rothenburg

I bought 2 beautiful lace ornaments for the tree and a little heart that hangs in my kitchen.

Bavarian needlework -xmas ornies

Bavarian needlework - heart

A wonderful array of textile goodness to add to a lovely holiday – very happy.

More pictures to come of the town of Rothenburg, it is still raining here in Yorkshire so no alternative but to spend the day in crafting – how sad ;-)

Thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?

You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(

Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.

However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)

The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.

I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.

Lucy Bunny's bag

Lucy Bunny and bag

Lucy Bunny dress 2

Lucy Bunny dress 3

I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?

Lucy Bunny head

Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.

Xmas ornies finished

I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)

I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.

Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.

Love Patchwork magazine

What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?

Love patchwork mag

They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.

I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!

Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!

Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.

Xmas tree 2013

Hello everyone

I now declare the Christmas season well and truly open.The turkey is in the freezer (along with the gammon and beef) the tree is up, most of the cards have been written and I am just frantically finishing off the ornies and gifts to send to family and friends.

You would think that since I make Christmas ornaments nearly all year round there would be no last-minute finishing but despite having done all the stitching and knitting I haven’t quite got around to putting them all together and as they need to go in the post by the end of the week I need to get cracking!

I did quite a bit yesterday while I was doing my stall at the lovely Oakwell Hall Christmas Craft Fair.That is another thing that always makes me feel very Christmassy as I sat and listened to Christmas songs all day and chatted to people about my ornaments.

Xmas craft fair Oakwell

Xmas craft fair Oakwell 2

Xmas craft fair Oakwell 3

I love doing this event ( did not make it last year due to being in China for most of Oct). I did sell lots of things which was great but even nicer were the lovely comments people made and it is very nice to know that my work will be hanging on other people’s trees this year.

There was one very cute little boy who had come to the fair with his grandparents just to buy a nice bauble and he choose one of my favourites from this year’s new stock.

He looked so pleased, bless him, and a little bit later they came back to buy two more ornaments for their other grandchildren so that they wouldn’t be left out!

I also bought this very lovely pine cone from one of the other stalls, it is similar to the ones I make but is made from fabric and very neatly done with little sequins with the pins at the top.

Xmas material cone

There were also these Tudor musicians entertaining us with a variety of instruments, very lovely and made me nostalgic for being in kit!

Xmas Oakwell Hall Craft fair musicians

I have been busy sorting out the menu as well, we are at home all Christmas this year in the lovely new house – a rarity for me as we often go away but we don’t see much of each other now with Ellie at Hardwick and Jake at Uni so we are looking forward to some good food and a catch up. The children are always very appreciative of my home cooking now that they have to cater for themselves :-)

I have been experimenting with bread recipes from my new Paul Hollywood book, here is a rye bread I made with a parmesan and poppy-seed topping – yum yum.

Rye bread

Have lots of other lovely stuff planned to cook, especially on Boxing Day when my brother and sister-in-law come round as they really enjoy cooking and will appreciate my efforts as well.

I have a busy week ahead with 2 Christmas dos, the knitting group when we have a crafty Secret Santa and all come home with a new ornament and a work do with a 50s theme.

Hope you are enjoying the run up to the festive season – don’t forget to comment on my giveaway post as I will be choosing the winner on Friday so that I can get the ornaments in the post in time.

Thanks as always for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope you are all well and happy. I have been having a very lovely quiet weekend making ornaments for my upcoming craft fair next Sunday and decorating my house.

The tree is up, the baubles are out and all is looking pretty :-) It is a little bit earlier than I normally do it but I am so busy this week and next weekend with various Christmas related things that I thought I would indulge myself (since the kids aren’t here to tell me I am mad lol).

I have taken some pictures of the latest makes – apologies as my camera has run out of batteries and so these are taken on my phone and in not very good light.

The first one is more of the ribbon pine cones that are so pretty and the second picture is of two ribbon tress that I made using the same technique.

Xmas cone ornies

Xmas tree ornies

I have had the polystyrene cones for these for a couple of years but only just got around to making them and they are just for me! I had a lovely day yesterday watching the Doctor Who 50th anniversary programmes while doing these.

Both designs are from Sue Schofield of Springwood House Designs, and are from the book ‘Fun with Ribbons’.

Books and kits and the polystyrene shapes are available from her website as well as oodles of lovely ribbons so go treat yourself and make something nice just for you. It is really easy, no sewing just pinning!

It is also my 6th blogaversary tomorrow so to celebrate I am giving away three of my hand-made Xmas ornaments to one of you lovely people.

Thank you for all your support and appreciation for this blog, it is really nice to know so many people enjoy what I do.

All you have to do is comment on this post – I will pick the winner on Friday 13th December (which will be lucky for someone!)

I will return next week, hopefully after a very successful craft fair, really looking forward to it. I am at Oakwell Hall in West Yorkshire if any of you are in the area.

Thanks for visiting.

Hello there

Sorry for the delay in posting this week, I wanted to show you my latest batch of Christmas ornaments but by the time I had finished making them on Sunday it was so dark I couldn’t take pictures and I have not really seen daylight this week!

However today I am working from home and it is lovely and sunny so have managed to get some shots. Have balanced the baubles on my tea light holders for display purposes in the pictures below!

Nov Xmas ornies

Nov Xmas ornie 2

Nov Xmas ornie 3

I am still really enjoying myself making these lovely baubles, for those of you who have not seen them before the original pattern comes from the very talented Sue at Springwood House Designs (who sells lots of pretty things to make them with) and the book with all the loveliness in is called Decorations to Dazzle.

I first started making these about 6 years ago and I love the creativity of the process, I just surround myself with all my fabric, beads and charms and play!

I am still busy knitting mini stockings for family and friends and adding cute buttons.Had to order some more this week from my favourite supplier Gregory Knopp (just had to, you will understand ;-) ) as I had run out of cute snowflake buttons and got some little reindeer ones as well.

Then I found the box of snowflake ones that had fallen down behind one of the shelves in my craft room. Oh well now have buttons to keep me going for a long time :-)

We had a tiny sprinkling of snow this week and are predicted lots more this winter. I am quite looking forward to it actually, I know it causes chaos but now I am in my lovely new house it is wonderful to see the moors all covered in snow and go and watch people sledging. Besides it gives me an excuse to knit more hats! In between knitting the bunnies.

I am off to see friends this weekend and we will be going to the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fair which I am very excited about. There will be mulled wine and nice cheese and Christmas ornaments to buy!

Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting. I have a blogaversary coming up next week so will be doing my usual giveaway so please come back and enter that.

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